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Who's Where: Peter Arcadipane appointed BAIC's design director

Fri, 14 Jun 2013

Peter Arcadipane has joined BAIC as its new design director. Based at its new hi-tech design facility in Beijing, China, he oversees a team of around 130 designers.

The Australian designer, formerly of Mercedes-Benz, has been challenged to steer state-owned BAIC towards a more coherent and strategic position within China, with its chairman wanting to take the carmaker more upmarket.

He explained to Car Design News that, as a goal-oriented individual, he can focus on helping BAIC move into a position where it can, as a Chinese brand, offer a serious alternative to the global brands.

"To be involved, at the beginning, as an important Chinese company develops into a serious player, is exciting," he told CDN.

"I have experience with many companies, including putting successful luxury Mercedes cars into the market. Of course, it's not just about design, but it starts with quality by design and design sophistication."

Arcadipane saw the challenges the role offered and was keen to lead the way. "If I can help put cars on the road, that are seen as well proportioned, contemporary, attractive and demanded by the Chinese consumer, I will be satisfied," he says.

Trend setting is another of his aims, following on from his success at Daimler, most significantly with the W215 CL luxury coupe that he says had many companies copying the greenhouse architecture.

As he prepares to present the first car to senior management with new products already lined up, having the time to develop exciting new cars for everyone to be proud of is the key aim.

"As a very critical observer of the modern car design, I want to be happy and proud of the work I will do," he explains.

He is credited with designing the CL, CLS and M-Class models and previously spent two years in Shenzhen with Denza, a joint venture between Daimler and China carmaker BYD, designing an electric vehicle that is expected to debut at the Guangzhou show in November.

Arcadipane also designed the iconic Interceptor from the 1970s cult classic movie Mad Max during his time as a design consultant based in Melbourne.

By Rufus Thompson